Devendorf & Helliwell likely to get chop this week
The Melbourne Tigers are in turmoil and on the verge this week of axing import Eric Devendorf and big man Wade Helliwell - while head coach Al Westover is also at risk of losing his job.
According to multiple sources, Tigers' CEO Seamus McPeake is believed to have threatened to withhold his payments to the players. The threat to the team came during the Tigers' humiliating loss to the Sydney Kings on Australia Day.
It is alleged that McPeake first started mouthing off at the Tigers' players in the tunnel as they walked off at half-time, forcing the referees to attempt to quieten the situation down.
But McPeake's rant continued through the intermission, where it also alleged he threatened to axe the whole team and replace them with development players for the rest of the season.
Westover, who has stood by Devendorf despite McPeake’s insistence that Devendorf be let go as far back as the Tigers' pre-season tour of China, is still supporting the American - and now it may cost him his job.
If Westover, who led the Tigers to the 2006 and 2008 NBL championships, is sacked, it is believed that the Tigers want Chris Anstey to take over and coach the Tigers.
At the time of this story being published (Sunday evening), Anstey knew of nothing involving him becoming the next head coach and the Tigers sacking Westover.
Devendorf, whom the Tigers wanted to axe for Donta Smith in November, has improved throughout the whole season, and is averaging 14.6ppg in his first season in the NBL.
Helliwell (3.7ppg), who began the season as a starter but has seen his minutes slashed, has shown a fair bit of grunt in limited action, but has lost minutes when the Tigers abandoned their giant starting line-up.
If cut, Devendorf and Helliwell will both be replaced on the Tigers roster by development players.
The Tigers sit one rung off the bottom of the ladder with a 6-12 record.
It is set to be tumultuous week for the Tigers, with a board meeting on Tuesday night set to determine Westover’s fate.
The Tigers play the Wollongong Hawks at home next Sunday.